Nexon: Consoles Should Embrace F2P Or Die
You know, contrary to the Neverending Story, you cannot wish the world you want into existence. Events or conventions that might help you personally do not always reflect the preferences of the world at large. That’s why I’ve learned to accept the fact that all buildings are not outfitted with lox dispensing machines and kiosks that distribute free whisky.
Perhaps someone ought to give that advice to Nexon USA CEO Daniel Kim. Kim, speaking to Games Industry, discussed the need for the gaming industry to be willing to take big risks and make leaps of faith “like Indiana Jones”. OK, we’re with him so far, but then he went and suggested that the future of Consoles is free to play gaming:
Console developers are starting to realise that as well, that unless they make accommodations or think about changing their own business model they’re going to quickly go the way of the dinosaurs.
I’m sorry, what?
Console has never been a strong contender in Korea in particular because of piracy, and just in terms of the business model it really makes sense. It’s really hard to beat free-to-play as an offering.
Well, it’s not that hard. You just have to release well funded, excellently developed AAA games on a regular basis. But seriously, EVERYTHING except for online multiplayer beats free to play as an offering because Free to Play, no matter how fun the game, will never have the development resources necessary to take gaming to the next level as an entertainment medium.
Granted, Kim is right about Korea, but Korean gaming habits have always been very atypical. Whether or not consoles go away, it’s definitely not going to be an embrace of F2P that makes them continually viable. I’d sooner believe that we’re going to abandon physical media by 2013 than believe that Xbox 720 should offer up a thousand clones of Star Trek Online. And I LIKE Star Trek Online. More to the point, Korean gaming habits don’t always travel well, which is why a certain Korea-based f2p MMO maker I won’t mention recently had a round of significant layoffs.
The point being: console makers, do not follow this advice. And ignore Electronic Arts too.